For Your Own Safety

Katherine Nixon is dead, for her own safety.

Afraid of a co-worker’s potential for violence, she voiced that concern to her husband the night before she died, and told him she wanted to take a gun to work.

Dead, for her own safety.

She was forced by policy to work in a so-called “gun free zone.” As a utilities engineer for the City of Virginia Beach, she was forbidden to bring a gun into the building where she worked…as was her murderer. And I am quite confident that the managers of that organization told her (and the other 11 victims of the May 31st shooting there) that the reason for the policy was “safety.”

For your own safety.

If Katherine Nixon had argued this policy with them, they would have lied to her. They would have told her that allowing employees to bring guns to work was not safe. They would have told her that in the event of a workplace shooting, her having a gun would only make things worse. Worse than what?

This is the lie that managers tell employees (and themselves) every day in this country. Despite readily available data to the contrary, they continue to insist that denying citizens the most effective and easy-to-use self-defense tool available somehow makes them safer. Don’t you believe them.

The only ones made safer by policies like these are the managers and the organizations which employ them. As I have written before, these policies are meant to protect the organization from liability, rather than the lives of the human beings who work there. Organizations don’t see employees like Katherine Nixon as real people, with real lives…precious lives worth defending. They are “resources,” and resources can be replaced. You are the “R” in your company’s “HR” department, after all.

Job postings for Utilities Engineer with the City of Virginia Beach as of June 13, 2019

Jason Nixon has retained an attorney, hoping to force some answers and accountability from the city. My cynical side fears he will have little success, however, as the court system has been extremely reluctant to assign any liability to organizations which enact no-gun policies…even while they fail to protect the lives of the people who work there.

Very few states have any sort of law on the books assigning liability to organizations which disarm their people, or even grant immunity to organizations which allow the choice to go legally armed on their premises. This needs to change.

But I do hope that Jason Nixon’s revelation of Katherine’s fears in her final hours might inspire some change in the way the legal system and our lawmakers look at “gun free zones,” and start shifting the calculus of risk-averse managers.

No one should die defenseless…for their own safety.

Choose Well

Coloradoans recently experienced a (more or less) collective butt-clenching at the possibility that a crazy lady who wanted to shoot up a school might be running around loose in the state. In anticipation of this possibility, they responded by simply closing all the schools they thought might be at risk and keeping all the kids at home for the day.

Image: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

The thing is, this is precisely why an on-site armed response capability is necessary every day. Do you think that if Columbine, or Virginia Tech, or Sandy Hook had actually expected that a shooting was imminent, they’d have been open that day? I’ll guarantee that if you asked any organization which had actually experienced a mass shooting if they expected it to happen that day, every single one of them would answer “no.” If they had honestly expected something like that to happen, or even think there was a truly credible threat, they would do just what Colorado did and close the doors for the day and send everyone home. (And for the record, I find no fault in that decision. I’d do the same thing if I really thought trouble was coming.)

“So what’s your point, Dave?”

My point is that every single mass shooting at a school or business happened when it was not expected, and if one happens at your school, church, or business it will also be unexpected. Just like every other victim of a mass shooting, you will not have advance warning.

If and when that day comes, the time for avoidance and for preparation is over…you will be forced to react, right then and there. The opportunity to avoid bloodshed will have passed, and the only option remaining is whether it will be a shootout, or a massacre…and guess what? You have to make that choice in advance. Choose well.

https://fastersaveslives.org/

Image: Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

 

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Just Like Any Other Day

Today, as I watched live news coverage of a multiple shooting at a business local to me, one theme kept resurfacing. News anchors, reporters, and witnesses repeatedly emphasized that prior to the eruption of violence, today seemed “just like any other day.”

Just like any other day. Until it wasn’t anymore.

Of course it did. This isn’t the movies, you know. There isn’t going to be some ominous background music to warn you that something bad is getting ready to happen. Everyone thought it was just another Thursday…and it was.

There is still very little information on this incident so far, so I’ll refrain from extensive commentary right now. However, it is already evident that it was quite lucky that the attack occurred in a downtown area which typically has a heavy law enforcement presence. Most other locations in this area would not have the benefit of such rapid police response and resolution.

But remember this: Tomorrow, you will get up and go about your business…just like any other day. Are you prepared?

Thinkable

Image: KTRK-TV

“It is with great sadness that I stand here today to share with you that we experienced an unthinkable tragedy at our high school this morning.”

–  Dr. Leigh Wall, Santa Fe ISD

To be fair, it is entirely possible that Dr. Wall did not mean “unthinkable” in the literal sense. Still, I think it is worth addressing the use of that word when it comes to mass murder in a school…or any other act of violence, for that matter. While violent crime is thankfully unfamiliar to the vast majority of America (386.3 offenses for every 100,000 people) , no one with access to a television, a radio, a computer, or smartphone should be in denial of the possibility.

Anyone who steps out their door in the morning truly believing “it can’t happen here” is a fool. Furthermore, if you are in some sort of position which entrusts you with responsibility for the lives of others and you still believe “it can’t happen here,” you are both negligent and morally bankrupt.

Although there were armed officers present today, and by all accounts they performed admirably, no law-abiding adult should be denied the right to defend themselves immediately from violence…right now. While prevention is certainly preferable, I know of no one who has a realistic proposal to guarantee that such violence can be prevented without fail. And once the killing begins, prevention is no longer an option. History has proven again and again that the longer it takes for an armed defender to arrive at the scene, the more people die.

If you are a leader…in a school system, a business, or any other organization…and you sit safe in your office while those in your charge are left vulnerable, you are wrong. It is one thing to opt for defenselessness for yourself, but to force others to be so is wrong. “Gun-free zones” are wrong. “Gun-free zones” kill.

Unthinkable, my ass. You had better think about it.

Image: KTRK-TV